Interactive art: what's not to love?
Source:The Art Newspaper Author:Steve Lazarides Date: 2015-08-26 Size:
I live for big, interactive exhibitions such as the slides that Carsten Höller recently installed at the Hayward Gallery……

Carsten Höller at the Hayward Gallery, London

Steve Lazarides.

I live for big, interactive exhibitions such as the slides that Carsten Höller recently installed at the Hayward Gallery. So I welcome the news that the artist is collaborating with Anish Kapoor to add the world’s longest tunnel slide to Britain’s tallest sculpture, Kapoor’s ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

I started my career facilitating the insane shows of Banksy and followed this by organising events such as Hell’s Half Acre and the Minotaur in the dark tunnels under Waterloo station in London, in collaboration with Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic Theatre. Part art show, part theatre, part theme park, these were designed to engage the public who came to visit: you did not view them passively but experienced them by making your way through murky spaces to discover spectacular, often site-specific, creations.

Next year, with the help of the events and festival firm Vision Nine and Knight Dragon, the company that is developing the Greenwich Peninsula, I’ll be staging my most ambitious event yet: Loki’s Playground, a temporary funfair designed by artists, on a ten-acre site next to the O2 arena in south-east London. There will be a wall of death, a carousel, shooting ranges, live music and gourmet street food.

Artists love these events and they have a much wider appeal to the general public than your average gallery show. In fact, the only people who don’t seem to embrace them are those in the art world, particularly the critics, academics and other so-called intellectuals who are incredibly disparaging about such initiatives.

One reason more people in the art world don’t facilitate these interactive, pleasurable shows is to do with money. The art world’s only interest nowadays seems to be making lots of it, and if something can’t be monetised, what’s the point?

Despite this, an increasing number of artists are pushing the boundaries of what constitutes an exhibition. These are artists whose work is embraced by the general public—and this is no bad thing, particularly when museums and galleries are still seen as inherently elitist by many.

Should we all just subscribe to the notion that something only constitutes a legitimate exhibition if it takes

place within the confines of a white-walled, polished-concrete-floored gallery? Fuck that.

Don’t get me wrong: I love museums, and the experience of contemplating Mark Rothko’s sublime paintings in silence at Tate Modern is irreplaceable. But surely there’s room for other, more interactive experiences with music, food, performance and fun thrown into the mix? One does not cancel out the other.

I want to see more shows and fewer exhibitions; I want to see interesting events in which artists, dealers and gallerists take risks, both financial and conceptual, and push the boundaries. Yes, such events are incredibly challenging to stage, cost a fortune to put on, are hard to monetise and are frowned upon by the art-world hierarchy. But the general public flocks to them. What’s not to love?

[Editor] 张艳